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Update - Cardinal Newman Society Continues Its Efforts to Stop V-Day Activists

03/02/2004

Since last year, Cardinal Newman Society has initiated a campaign against the V-Day benefit productions of “The Vagina Monologues” at Catholic Colleges and Universities.

In February and March 2004, the society directed their efforts against 30 such V-Day benefits calling the play “vulgar” and taking its out of context, specifically taking issue with the “Coochi Snorcher” monologue which recounts a real woman’s personal experience with violence and its aftermath.

Background on V-Day and the College campaign: V-Day is a global campaign that envisions and is working to create a world in which violence against women and girls no longer exists. V-Day hopes that the devastating and true stories that are the foundation of "The Vagina Monologues" will inspire people who see productions of the play to help V-Day in its efforts to stop all violence against women and girls.

Through the V-Day College Campaign, which launched in 1999, thousands of student organizers have raised funds for local groups on their campuses and within their communities. This year, students at over 700 colleges and universities will stage V-Day benefits of “The Vagina Monologues” to raise funds and awareness. The events take place on-campus and are primarily student-run, student-acted and student-directed.

To date, V-Day has raised over $20 million dollars for local community groups who do anti-violence work on the ground every day. Along the way, millions of people have been empowered and educated and have become active in the fight to end violence against women and girls.

According to its website, the Cardinal Newman society works to promote Catholic values at Catholic institutions of higher learning and to clarify the “mission within the Church” of these colleges and universities.

In response to news of efforts to ban these benefit productions, many community members offered off-site space to support the V-Day organizers who were being censored. Indeed, attempts to ban the productions often created a constructive public and media debate within the community about free speech, the problem of violence against women and the need to address it, and also raised questions about the true goals of the Cardinal Newman Society, which attempted to stop students from doing good works and pressured university administrators and their alumni toward censorship.

The group protest against “The Vagina Monologues” came to a head this year with a full-page, misleading and inflammatory advertisement last week in some regional editions of USA Today.

Due to this increased activity by the society and the many emails of support we’ve received, V-Day felt it was important to update and provide this background on the situation. It is important to note that Cardinal Newman Society has not reached out to V-Day to voice their concerns or to discuss how together we can end violence against women and girls—an issue we think would be of great concern to the church considering the epidemic violence within the church itself and recently documented. While the Cardinal Newman Society has publicly and aggressively agitated against V-Day organizers on Catholic campuses and in the media, V-Day has chosen to simply provide this update so that our supporters and organizers are informed.

Following is a list of action steps for your consideration:

In addition to these letters, you can also make a donation to V-Day in the name of the Cardinal Newman Society. Visit http://www.vday.org/donate .

Following are some recent news reports on the Cardina Newman Society’s campaign against V-Day and student efforts to end violence against women:

USA TODAY
http://www.usatoday.com/life/theater/2004-03-01-monologues-usat_x.htm

The Chronicle of Higher Education
http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=ld8qmue73ibjn9ymmwh4q66alqbmxpxi